Hayden and I are always looking for fun activities we can do to spend time together besides the typical dinners, movies, and Netflix. Don’t get me wrong – we spend plenty of time cliche dating; however, to keep it interesting we always love coming up with something different every once in a while. This is why I was so excited when part of my Christmas gift this year were two cooking/education classes at a well-known, upscale Charlotte restaurant – Mimosa Grill.
The first class was Wine 101 – a wine education class taught by a local sommelier partnered with great small plates by Thomas Marlow, the executive chef. It started at an early 10am but from the get go I was impressed by the staff’s chipper welcome! We enjoyed getting to know those around us before the class began. There were approximately 25 others in the class with us ready to learn!
We started with Family Estate Sauvignon Blanc from Napa Valley paired with the most delicious oysters I have ever tasted. Seriously, my mouth is watering just thinking about them again. The wine was very sweet and smelled decadent. The sommelier taught us the proper technique for swishing, dipping, and sniffing our wine. Both the chef and him agreed we taste a great deal more if we really take in the smells of what we’re about to enjoy rather than just diving in.
We were then introduced to two additional whites – Sassi Pino Grigio & Mile 71 Pino Gris. The sommelier educated us on the difference between Grigio & Gris teaching the that Grigio will always be slightly sweeter than Gris. He also informed us that Grigio wines come from Italian grapes while Gris come from grapes grown in France. Though we are not white wine drinkers, Hayden and I really enjoyed the Mile 71 and purchased a bottle before we left to save for a great grilled chicken dish this summer!
Partnered with these white wines were grain mustard deviled eggs. Anyone who knows me knows that I do not eat eggs under any circumstances. The sheer smell of them make me want to leave the room. I guess it was the three previous glasses of wine that encouraged me to take a bite. I was blown away by the richness of the mustard – after all, I am a HUGE mustard fan. Though I was proud of myself for trying, I couldn’t stomach any more of the hard boiled egg.
It was then time to start the red wines (my favorite!) paired with Chef Thomas’ avocado, lump crab toast. I had never tried a Chianti wine before but was impressed with it’s sweetness. It paired perfectly with the bite sized toast – which had been fried for approximately 5 seconds and topped with local crab (uhhhh YUM.) The plate was so delicious I didnt want to eat it – but after one bite, I was smitten and ate the whole thing, right down to the slice of fig (also the alcohol influence because I don’t think you’re supposed to eat the garnish – oops!)
The meal was finished with three additional glasses of Margeaux, Tuscany, & Cavernet Sauvignon. Not going to lie, after the previous wines & small bites everyone was feeling toasty (no pun intended). I would recommend and uber if you decide to try the class in the future!
Though all were absolutely delicious, the Cabernet Sauvignon was by far my favorite of the three with the Margeaux my second pick. We learned that after the swish, reds that have more drips around the glass and cling to the surface are generally “better” wines. Contrary to my belief that anything over $10.00 qualified as “better” wines. These would be great gifts for future hostess gifts so you bet I’ll be saving the names of these delicious bottles!
The reds were paired with the most delicious beef I have ever had. We had two cuts, a short rib topped with “pea soup” (basically pesto without the pine nuts) and a tenderloin filet. Both cuts absolutely melted in your mouth. We didn’t even need a knife to cut the steak to give you an idea of just how tender and delicious they were.
Overall, we had the best time meeting new friends, learning about wine and sampling some of the most delicious food I have ever tasted. I am taking away a plethora of knowledge I would have never known without the class & the yearning to go back to try Mimosa Grill’s regular menu. Speaking of which, Charlotte’s Restaurant week is just around the corner, January 22-31. Start making reservations now because they fill up fast. I’ll be posting about my recommendations and choices later this week.